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North Korean leader's sister says another summit unlikely

Kim said in her personal opinion, there is unlikely to be another summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump this year but “a surprise thing may still happen".

FILE: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on 12 June 2018. Picture: AFP

SEOUL – Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea’s leader, said another summit with the United States would only be useful for Washington at this point, adding her country had no intention of “threatening the US,” according to state media.

Kim said in her personal opinion, there is unlikely to be another summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump this year but “a surprise thing may still happen,” news agency KCNA reported on Friday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday he was “very hopeful” about resuming talks with North Korea about denuclearisation and appeared to leave open the possibility of another summit between the countries’ leaders.

Kim Yo Jong’s comments came a day after the US point man for North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, wrapped up a three-day visit to Seoul where he rejected speculation he was seeking to meet North Korean officials during his trip, but said the United States was open to talks.

Recent North Korean statements have rejected the idea of new talks, and Kim reiterated Pyongyang’s objections to what it sees as hostile and self-serving policies of the United States.

“We would like to make it clear that it does not necessarily mean the denuclearisation is not possible,” Kim Yo Jong said. “But what we mean is that it is not possible at this point of time.”

Her comments were couched in a somewhat softer tone than previous statements, and she even noted she had received special permission to view recordings of the recent Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations in the United States.

“We do not have the slightest intention to pose a threat to the US... Everything will go smoothly if they leave us alone and make no provocation on us,” she said.

Kim said it was unclear if mixed messages of engagement and pressure from Trump and his aides are an “intentional scheme or a result of the President’s loose grip of power.”

She said her brother had instructed her to pass on greetings to Trump and send him wishes for success in his work.

But even if the relationship between the leaders is good, Washington will return to being hostile and North Korea needs to shape its policies in preparation for leaders other than Trump, Kim said.

Kim Jong Un and Trump exchanged threats and insults in 2017 as North Korea rapidly advanced its missile and nuclear weapons technology, before ties warmed in early 2018.

The two leaders have met three times but failed to find a compromise over the North’s nuclear weapons programme, or the international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.